Corbett Administration Advances Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership

HARRISBURG – The Corbett Administration continues to make progress to strengthen Pennsylvania’s tourism industry through the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership and the continued progress of a 17-member steering committee that will integrate the public and private sectors to elevate Pennsylvania as a premier tourism destination.

“After nearly 25 years of the tourism industry exploring a variety of approaches to marketing, Pennsylvania is on the verge of making history,” said DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker.

“The creation of a steering committee was an essential first step for the partnership toward strengthening the Commonwealth’s tourism brand and marketing and achieving greater continuity. Its continued evolution will require collaboration with Pennsylvania’s tourism industry and business leaders as well as tourism colleagues around the country.”

The Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership (PTP) represents a shared desire of the public and private sectors to achieve a collaborative and integrated approach to branding and marketing tourism that is transformational. Under this partnership, Pennsylvania’s tourism brand and marketing initiatives can achieve greater continuity and brand awareness to increase the already significant economic and jobs impact of the tourism industry in Pennsylvania.

Leadership for the PTP comes from a 17-member steering committee, comprised of business and industry leaders from across the commonwealth with demonstrated skills, strong leadership, and marked successes within their organizations and representatives of key government agencies, including Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Department of Agriculture.

During the startup phase, the steering committee will chart the course of development for the PTP by focusing on an organizational plan, bylaws and a development effort to raise the necessary funds for brand discovery and a strategic marketing plan over the next 12 months. The committee will also serve as visible and vocal ambassadors for tourism and its vital role in Pennsylvania’s economic development until such time as the PTP is fully operational with a functioning board of directors.

Statewide tourism has historically been led by the Office of Travel, Tourism & Film (OTTF) located within DCED.  Under the PTP, the public and private sectors will collaborate on the development of a long-term state tourism marketing plan and sustainable funding sources to support the priorities outlined in the plan.

The PTP is the result of a two-year process and increasing momentum toward a structure that enables the public and private sectors to collectively drive the future of Pennsylvania’s tourism marketing efforts.  State Rep. Jerry Stern, who chairs the House Tourism and Recreational Development, has been a leader in this effort, supporting the industry as it searched for a way to move this initiative forward. The road leading to the PTP’s creation has included industry surveys, national research and ongoing meetings between the public and private sectors.

“Travel and tourism is a highly competitive global industry where promotion is increasingly critical to driving visitation,” said Lynn Burkholder, PTP project director.

“I look forward to working with the steering committee, PATT and the OTTF in the coming months as we take important steps toward opportunities to market and promote Pennsylvania as a domestic and international tourism destination.”

The PTP exists initially within Team Pennsylvania Foundation (Team PA) for up to three years during the start-up phase, operating under its 501(c)3 charter and funded with operational seed money from DCE and support from the Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism (PATT). The Pennsylvania OTTF will continue to represent the state’s involvement in the partnership and will be actively engaged on the steering committee.

“Creating the public/private Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership has long been a goal and initiative of the travel and tourism industry in Pennsylvania,” said Rob Fulton, president and chief executive officer of PATT.

“We are thrilled to achieve this important milestone, but we realize this is only the beginning of an exciting journey. The steering committee is a valuable asset as we grow the partnership and enhance tourism marketing.”

The creation of the Steering Committee was a collaborative effort of DCED, PATT, and Team PA, as well as tourism industry representatives from the public and private sector. There are currently 16 members of the PTP Steering Committee with one position vacant. The Steering Committee includes:

Nick DeBenedictis, Chairman/CEO, Aqua America, Inc.
Liz Diesel, General Manager, Glades Pike Winery
Kim Schaller, Executive V.P./Chief Marketing Officer, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Joe Massaro, General Manager, Hilton Harrisburg
Marnie Conley, Chief Marketing Officer, Longwood Garden
Ted Leonard, Executive Director, PA AAA Federation
Robert Nutting, Principal Owner, Pittsburgh Pirates
William Demchak, President/CEO, PNC Bank
Brandon Igdalsky, President/CEO, Pocono Raceway
Patrick Ryan, Director of Sales, Sands Casino resort
Paul Nelson, Owner, Waldameer Park
Karen Winner Sed, CEO, Winner International
Greg Booth, President/CEO, Zippo Case
Alan Walker, Secretary, Department of Community & Economic Development
Ellen Ferretti, Secretary, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
George Greig, Secretary, Department of Agriculture

For more information about the PTP, visit www.patourismpartnership.com.

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